In September 2002, Hurricane Isidore devastated the Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico. To understand its effects on the parasites of aquatic organisms, we analyzed long-term monthly population data of the horn snail Cerithidea pliculosa and its trematode communities in Celestún, Yucatán, Mexico before and after the hurricane (February 2001 to December 2009). Five trematode species occurred in the snail population: Mesostephanus appendiculatoides, Euhaplorchis californiensis, two species of the genus Renicola and one Heterophyidae gen. sp. Because these parasites use snails as first intermediate hosts, fishes as second intermediate hosts and birds as final hosts, their presence in snails depends on food webs. No snails were present at the sampled sites for 6 months after the hurricane. After snails recolonised the site, no trematodes were found in snails until 14 months after the hurricane. It took several years for snail and trematode populations to recover. Our results suggest that the increase in the occurrence of hurricanes predicted due to climate change can impact upon parasites with complex life cycles. However, both the snail populations and their parasite communities eventually reached numbers of individuals and species similar to those before the hurricane. Thus, the trematode parasites of snails can be useful indicators of coastal lagoon ecosystem degradation and recovery.
|Title||Trematode communities in snails can indicate impact and recovery from hurricanes in a tropical coastal lagoon|
|Authors||Maria Leopoldina Aguirre-Macedo, Victor M. Vidal-Martinez, Kevin D. Lafferty|
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Series Title||International Journal for Parasitology|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Western Ecological Research Center|